News from the Field Studies Centre

News from the Field Studies Centre

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

The term-long Field Studies Programme is a powerful experience for the boys who undertake it. The structured programme of academic, outdoor and social-emotional learning challenges the students to grow, while ensuring that the necessary supports are in place where they are needed. Steve Biddulph, Australian Psychologist and author in one of his recent books The New Manhood, presents the view that the majority of boys and young men today are not guided through a carefully managed process or a rite of passage, which is something that all cultures offered in some form prior to the commencement of the Industrial Revolution. At Trinity we have recognised this need and have responded with the introduction of the extended Field Studies Programme, which is a keys experience in a boy’s journey through the Middle School.

This week we launched the extension outdoor education activities which provide the boys with an opportunity to specialise in a chosen outdoor pursuit and further develop their skills. Activities such as mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing and archery are on offer, and provide the boys with an opportunity to engage in a recreational activity that they may wish to pursue long after they finish their time on the FSP. Student agency is also addressed by giving the boys choice on how they invest their time and efforts. These non-traditional physical activities are an integrated component of the PDHPE programme for the term.

Academic field work also commenced this week on Wednesday, with the students leaving campus to explore the mangrove boardwalk at Huskisson and learn more about the local area from a geographical and ecological perspective. Place-based learning pedagogy encourages educators to make the community their classroom and this is what we saw in action this week. The boys ventured onto Jervis Bay during the afternoon on one of the local dolphin watch cruises. This provided the students with a unique opportunity to develop a deeper insight into the incredible natural wonder that is the Booderee National Park.

The first of our series of parent-student contacts will occur on Saturday afternoon for the boys on the FSP. The students (and I bet the parents and extended family) are very much looking forward to connecting via the video chats. Advice from other schools who are also members of the Australian Boarding School Association, suggests that an initial delay of voice and video contact for a fortnight after arrival, can provide the students with the time they need to settle into their new environment and find their feet. We have put this process of making video calls to the test over the last two years, and found it provides an opportunity for meaningful conversations and an insight for families into the adventures the boys are having on the FSP.

Parents and families are also encouraged to bookmark the Middle and Senior News and the dedicated Field Studies page on the School’s website and visit this space to read updates from the Woollamia Campus. Not only will we be sharing sneak peaks via social media, but the boys will also be involved in submitting photography and stories that will appear in the article feed on the Field Studies webpage. 

Tim Knowles | Head of the Field Studies Centre (FSC)

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